We've had a mild winter here for the most part, but the last week or so has been bitter-nasty cold. I'm keeping myself warm by road-testing two recently launched niche spice fragrances:
First up, Caravelle Epicée by the French Cognac house Frapin. Caravelle Epicée starts with a veritable explosion of spice notes, and while I find it glorious, I can see someone less enthusiastic about spice being a bit overwhelmed. A little bit of amber sweetens things up briefly at the start, but it fades into the background rather quickly as the hot pepper, dusty-dry and strong, takes over. The other spices come and go, first the coriander, then a little hint of thyme, then lots of nutmeg, but the pepper hangs on for a good hour before settling itself down (the notes: coriander, nutmeg, clove, cumin, cardamom, thyme, tobacco, patchouli, sandalwood, gaiac wood and amber).
The dry down is a more subdued woody fragrance, still dry but not nearly so bone-dry as the early stages, and with the tobacco, while mild, adding a nice bite to the proceedings. After about an hour and a half, the spices are now well-blended and the finish is almost creamy. It's more masculine, less vanillic than say, Givenchy Organza Indecence, and has less of a comfort scent feel.
I really like Caravelle Epicée, and it was the only one of the four new Frapins that captivated me. The lasting power from a little sample vial was not great, but it did much better sprayed, and it hangs onto clothing beautifully. Frapin Caravelle Epicée is available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum; for buying information, see the listing for Frapin under Perfume Houses.
Next up, the prosaically named eo01 from Biehl, the first of the three fragrances in that line by perfumer Egon Oelkers. Most of the Biehls are still hanging around in my purgatory basket, although that says as much about my inability to process a collection of 13 (couldn't they have released them a few at a time? please?) fragrances as it does about the scents themselves.
Eo01 isn't as spicy as Caravelle Epicée (or Organza Indecence), although I'm guessing that for most people, that will be just fine, thank you. The spices emerge slowly out of juicy citrus (the notes: tangerine, blood orange, cardamom, nutmeg, apricot, coconut, rosewood, pimento, iris, orchid, lily of the valley, styrax, vanilla, cinnamon, tonka bean, cedar, vetiver, patchouli) and while they never approach danger levels, the opening is lively and bright.
The iris in the dry down smoothes everything over; it is all velvety-soft spiced woods sweetened with a touch of vanilla, and while not quite foody, has more of a comfort scent vibe than the Frapin. I've seen a number of comparisons to Parfumerie Generale Cadjmere. They are cousins, I suppose; Cadjmere is thicker and chewier, with less spice and more powder. Personally I prefer the eo01, which I've liked more and more each time I've tried it. Biehl eo01 is also available in 100 ml Eau de Parfum; for buying information, see the listing for Biehl under Perfume Houses.